How can invading foreign lands that pose no threat to the US make Americans safer? From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:
That the United States likes to use expressions like “shock and awe” or “maximum pressure” would rather suggest that there is a psychopath working in the White House basement whose full-time job is to come up with pithy one-liners to somehow euphemize government bad behavior. The expressions hardly mean anything in and of themselves apart from “tough talk” but they do serve as an alternative to having to admit in plain language to the killing of millions of people since the Global War on Terror began in 2001. “Millions?” one might skeptically ask. Yes, millions if one includes all those killed directly or indirectly as a result of the wars. Direct victims of the violence number at least 157,000 in Afghanistan, 182,000 in Iraq, 400,000 in Syria and 25,000 in Libya. And if you want to go back a few years three million Vietnamese died in 1964-1975 while 2.5 million civilians were killed in Korea. And even in the “Good War” World War 2 there were unnecessary incidents to include the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed 105,000, the firebombing of Tokyo adding another 97,000, and the firebombing of Hamburg and Dresden that together killed 45,000.
An estimated ten million more civilians have been displaced from their homes since 2001, creating refugee crises in both Europe and the Americas, while trillions of dollars have also been wasted or “misplaced” by the geniuses at the Pentagon and in Congress. And some might reasonably argue that the violence taking place all around the world has also been internalized in the U.S., with mass murders surfacing in the news media every few days. Some argue that the United States has nearly always been at war since its founding, which would be true, but it is also correct to note that the nature of America’s lethal engagement with the rest of the world has changed in the past twenty years. Old wars were fought to expand territory and trade or to acquire colonies for the same purpose, meaning they were intended to increase one’s power and wealth. Since 9/11, however, the wars are being fought seemingly without any real identifiable objective while also inflicting significant losses in relative wealth and power on the United States.
US military leaders are more comfortable gearing up for more conventional wars against China and Russia than they were with the Global War on Terror. However, that doesn’t mean that the US should fight such wars or that it could win them. From William Astore at tomdispatch.com:
Why 2021 Looks So Much Like 1981 — And Why That Should Scare Us
The future isn’t what it used to be. As a teenager in the 1970s, I watched a lot of TV science fiction shows, notably Space: 1999 and UFO, that imagined a near future of major moon bases and alien attacks on Earth. Movies of that era like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey envisioned colossal spaceships and space stations featuring international crews on mind-blowing missions to Jupiter and beyond. Who’d have thought that, 20 years after Kubrick’s alternate reality of 2001, we humans would effectively be marooned on a warming “sixth extinction” planet with no moon bases and, to the best of my knowledge, no alien attacks either.
Sure, there’s been progress of a sort in the heavens. Elon Musk’s Space X may keep going down in flames, but the Chinese now have their very own moon rocks. As the old-timey, unmanned Voyager probe continues to glide beyond our solar system, Mars is a subject for research by new probes hailing from the United Arab Emirates, China, and the U.S. Meanwhile, the International Space Station continues conducting research in low-earth orbit.
As with space exploration, so, too, with America’s military. What amazes me most in 2021 is how much of its structure and strategy resembles what held sway in 1981 when I joined the Air Force as a college student in ROTC. Instead of futuristic starship troopers flying around with jetpacks and firing lasers, the U.S. military is still essentially building the same kinds of weaponry we were then. They’re newer, of course, glitzier, if often less effective, but this country still has a Navy built around aircraft carriers, an Air Force centered on fighter jets and stealth bombers, and an Army based on tanks, helicopters, and heavy brigades. Admittedly, that Army may soon spend $20 billion on “augmented reality goggles” for the troops. (Perhaps those goggles will be programmed so that “reality” always looks like we win.)
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Military, Politics, Propaganda, War
Tagged China, Russia, US military strategy, war on terrorism
How does a nation of 335 million people dominate a highly advanced continent with 447 million people and another highly advanced continent with 4.67 billion people? The short answer: it doesn’t. From Andrei Martyanov at unz.com:
Here are few numbers, we’ll start with two: 447 million and 4.67 billion. These two numbers speak volumes, and are in the foundation of the America’s decline and increasingly irrational behavior which may, quoting Bachman Turner Overdrive’s famous hit, get us to the point of a proverbial ain’t seen nothing yet. The first number is a population of European Union, while the second one is a population of Asia. Asia’s population constitutes around 60% of all the world’s population. Second place in this count is taken by Africa, around 1.37 billion, and the third–by Latin America and Caribbean with respectable 659 million which is considerably larger still than the population of the European Union. The Northern America’s population is around 371 million, which in the larger scheme of things doesn’t look that impressive. In fact, it isn’t.
The history of colonialism—I deliberately omit here this qualifier “Western”, there were all kinds of colonialisms—as related to classic capitalism was more than just about exploitation of colonies for the benefit of metropole. While images of extraction of natural resources from colonies and shipping those to metropoles are correct, they do not form a complete picture. In the end, colonies were viewed as markets where metropole would sell its products. The larger the colony, the more numerous its population was, the larger was the market for products manufactured in metropole. This all made a complete, however often bloody, economic sense in the times of a good ol’ industrial capitalism when metropole would get resources from colony and turn them into finished product and then will ship this finished product, with a huge value added, to be sold in colony. For Native Americans who sold Manhattan to Dutch in 1626 for allegedly, and hotly contested by historians, $24 worth in finished goods, whatever was offered was a huge value for them because they could not produce those items, be that, as mythology states, shiny glass bids or whatever else much more technologically advanced Dutch would offer them. That is how it worked more or less for centuries. The more and better items one produced the richer one would become. That is until FIRE economy and simulacrum of the post-industrialism were revealed to the world by people most of who would have difficulty passing a general contractor exam, not to speak of getting industrial engineering degree.
The military doesn’t cost nearly as much for a country that minds its own business as it does for one that wants to run a global empire. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:
The Napoleonic Wars consumed the lives of between 2.5 million and 3.5 million soldiers, most unwilling draftees. Although defeated, discredited, and exiled after years of brutal conflict, the self-anointed emperor responsible for those deaths today is honored – lionized, actually – in Paris. His tomb is located in the Hotel Les Invalides surrounded by commemorations of his many great but costly victories.
Aggressive war and mass slaughter obviously look better through the mists of time. And conscription, which Napoleon used to terrorize a continent, is still routinely employed by nations today.
Today millions of people can be dispatched by a few bombs launched from half the world away. A couple people sitting in a missile silo can unleash hell and more by turning a couple keys. However, the tragic propensity of mankind to engage in war obviously goes back to humanity’s beginning. The horror and cruelty of ancient conflict is almost unimaginable. It was mass killing at its most personal. Massacres required many hands and took much time and effort.
As political control fractured European warfare eventually turned into the far more restricted game of kings. Unless you were unlucky enough to live near a battlefield, you probably wouldn’t be bothered. Indeed, you might not even notice that a war was going on. And reliance on mercenaries helped keep casualties down. They wasted neither their time nor effort, and certainly not their lives, on silly notions like patriotism and loyalty. Protracted conflicts could still be costly, but the numbers of combatants involved look shockingly small compared to modern wars.
“Rules-based international order” is US foreign policy blob-speak for the US calls the tune for the rest of the world. From Scott Ritter at globalresearch.ca:
For decades, America styled itself the ‘indispensable nation’ that led the world & it’s now seeking to sustain that role by emphasizing a new Cold War-style battle against ‘authoritarianism’. But it’s a dangerous fantasy.
It seems a week cannot go by without US Secretary of State Antony Blinken bringing up the specter of the ‘rules-based international order’ as an excuse for meddling in the affairs of another state or region.
The most recent crisis revolves around allegations that China has dispatched a fleet of more than 200 ships, part of a so-called ‘maritime militia’, into waters of the South China Sea claimed by the Philippines. China says that these vessels are simply fishing boats seeking shelter from a storm. The Philippines has responded by dispatching military ships and aircraft to investigate. Enter Antony Blinken, stage right:
“The United States stands with our ally, the Philippines, in the face of the PRC’s maritime militia amassing at Whitsun Reef,” Blinken tweeted. “We will always stand by our allies and stand up for the rules-based international order.”
Blinken’s message came a mere 18 hours after he tweeted about his meeting in Brussels with NATO.
“Our alliances were created to defend shared values,” he wrote. “Renewing our commitment requires reaffirming those values and the foundation of international relations we vow to protect: a free and open rules-based order.”
Our rules, our order
What this actually means, of course, is that the order is rules-based so long as it is the nation called America that sets these rules and is accepted as the world’s undisputed leader.
Blinken’s fervent embrace of the ‘rules-based international order’ puts action behind the words set forth in the recently published ‘Interim National Security Strategy Guidance’, a White House document which outlines President Joe Biden’s vision “for how America will engage with the world.”
While the specific term ‘rules-based international order’ does not appear in the body of the document, the precepts it represents are spelled out in considerable detail, and conform with the five pillars of the “liberal international order” as set forth by the noted international relations scholars, Daniel Duedney and G. John Ikenberry, in their ground-breaking essay, ‘The nature and sources of liberal international order’, published by the Review of International Studies in 1999.
Posted in Collapse, Eurasian Axis, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Military, War
Tagged American empire, China, Russia
Leaving Afghanistan after 20 years of war would be tantamount to an admission that the American empire isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. From Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.com:
On May 1, U.S. may face an “entirely new war.”
The seemingly eternal war in Afghanistan continues. American forces have been on station for nearly 20 years, longer than the Mexican-American War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and Korean War combined.
Some $2 trillion have been spent. More than 6,000 U.S. service members and contractors have died, along with roughly 1,100 allied soldiers. Many more have been wounded, some suffering crippling injuries. Absent a speedy exit, those numbers will continue upward.
The U.S. is supposed to leave Afghanistan on May 1, the timetable agreed to by the Taliban. However, at his recent press conference President Joe Biden essentially admitted that American forces won’t be leaving then. He expressed hope that they would not be there next year.
Even if there was trust between Washington and the Taliban, that sentiment probably would not suffice. The American military has spent nearly two decades seeking to end the insurgents’ bid for power. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump both increased the number of American personnel in Afghanistan before reducing them.
The House of Saud is discovering a lesson scores of governments have run up against in the past: war, even against smaller and weaker opponents, can be a costly affair. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:
The Saudi rulers are facing a humiliating defeat as the Yemenis take revenge and Uncle Sam washes his hands of blood.
After six years of blowing up Yemen and blockading its southern neighbor, the Saudi rulers are now saying they are committed to finding peace. The move is less about genuine peace than economic survival for the oil kingdom.
The Saudi monarchy say they want “all guns to fall completely silent”. Washington, which has been a crucial enabler of the Saudi war on Yemen, has backed the latest “peace offer”. Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week endorsed the initiative from the Saudi rulers, saying he had spoken with them “on our work together to end the conflict in Yemen, facilitate humanitarian access and aid for the Yemeni people”.
The Saudi foreign ministry stated: “The initiative aims to end the human suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people, and affirms the kingdom’s support for efforts to reach a comprehensive political resolution.”
Can you believe this sickening duplicity from the Saudis and the Americans?
Posted in Energy, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Military, Morality, Politics, Propaganda, War
Tagged Price of oil, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
Any country that’s so benighted that it thinks it can run itself better than the US government can deserves permanent occupation by the US military. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
US intelligence agencies have warned the Biden administration that if the United States withdraws its military presence from Afghanistan under current circumstances, the nation would be at severe risk of falling under the control of the people who live there.
A New York Times article titled “Officials Try to Sway Biden Using Intelligence on Potential for Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan” warns that an intelligence assessment has predicted that if “U.S. troops leave before any deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government, the militant group will take over much of the country.”
“The intelligence estimate predicted that the Taliban would relatively swiftly expand their control over Afghanistan, suggesting that the Afghan security forces remain fragile despite years of training by the American military and billions of dollars in U.S. funding,” NYT reports.
When your empire is crumbling, it’s often hard to separate friends and enemies. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:
Anyone who expected a change in tone in foreign policy due to the transition from Trump to Biden has to be disappointed.
There are certainly a number of reasons why the United States government is now only viewed favorably by the Israelis, but totally tone deaf foreign and economic policies have to be right up there in how the world sees Washington. Rather than conform to how other nations are expected to behave, the U.S. has elevated “exceptionalism” and “leader of the free world” nonsense to a dogma where it believes itself allowed to behave without restraint in defense of what it claims to be its interests. As all countries act in support of interests, that would at least be understandable but the odd thing is that the various constituencies that make up the U.S. government do not even have any clear vision of what is and is not good for the country and American people as a whole.
President Joe Biden’s recent labeling of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “killer” combined with a threat to make Russia “pay a price” due to its alleged meddling in American elections is a perfect example of imperial over-reach by the clowns currently prowling the corridors of power in Washington. The not so thinly veiled threat was derived from an intelligence assessment that claimed that Russia had favored the candidacy of Donald Trump and had been circulating disinformation to damage Biden and his family. The assessment provided no evidence to back-up what was claimed, which was innocuous in any event, but it was enough to trigger a malaprop response from the U.S. president. The more canny Putin has responded by suggesting a live televised “debate” with Biden, who, refused to take up the offer, knowing that if he had he would have quite likely “gaffed” his way to incoherence.
Who you gonna believe: a highly credentialed doctor who’s successfully used ivermectin with his own patients, or political whores like Anthony Fauci? The choice is yours. From Mary Beth Pfeiffer at trailsidenews.com:
A Yale University professor and renowned cancer researcher has pored over the COVID-19 literature and treated several dozen patients. He can remain silent no longer.
Dr. Alessandro Santin, a practicing oncologist and scientist who runs a large laboratory at Yale, believes firmly that ivermectin could vastly cut suffering from COVID-19. Santin joins a growing group of doctors committed to using the safe, generic drug both as an early home treatment to prevent hospitalization and alongside inpatient treatments like steroids and oxygen.
“The bottom line is that ivermectin works. I’ve seen that in my patients as well as treating my own family in Italy,” Santin said in an interview, referring to his father, 88, who recently suffered a serious bout of COVID. “We must find a way to administer it on a large scale to a lot of people.”
Santin’s statements carry the prestige of a leadership position at Yale School of Medicine and the gravitas of a top uterine cancer researcher, who has authored more than 250 science journal articles and pioneered treatment, used worldwide, for the most aggressive form of uterine cancer. At Yale, he is an OB/GYN professor, team leader in gynecologic oncology at the Smilow Comprehensive Cancer Center, and co-chief of gynecologic oncology.